Thursday, 18 March 2010

Missing, BBC One

I know this is a bit after the event, but here's a rough and ready review of the daytime drama Missing that I wrote for Orange a couple of days ago. It was enjoyable low-budget stuff, written by Matthew Leys - worth catching up with on iPlayer for study purposes, at least.

(This is a bit of a warm-up routine; I'm planning to start blogging again - sporadically - in the next few days.)

Missing, a daytime drama series starring Pauline Quirke as DS Mary Jane "MJ" Croft, the head of a missing persons unit in Dover, made a brief five-day appearance last year. And it obviously tickled someone's fancy, because now it's back for an extended 10-episode run. 

As you'd expect from this kind of show, the first episode gave us a mix of on-the-job investigations and personal complications, with the main case involving a missing six-year-old girl. There was a nice amount of plot squeezed into the episode, as various explanations for the apparent abduction came and went. Even when she was discovered and "rescued", there were still more secrets to be revealed.

The second story was much slighter, as a firefighter wanted help to find his grown-up son, who'd disappeared after a bit of a row at a family 'do. This thread panned out a bit more conveniently, but was still tied up nicely with a bitter-sweet conclusion.

On top of all this, the team also had to deal with their personal baggage. Under the cosh from a hardass new boss, MJ was torn between work and attending her niece's birthday party, while the pressure of impending sergeant's exams took a toll on the budding relationship between DC Jason Doyle (Felix Scott) and civilian assistant Amy Garnett (Pooja Shah).

Pauline Quirke also popped up earlier in Missing Live – a Crimewatch-y thing presented by Louise Minchin and Rav Wilding that'll be on every weekday morning over the next two weeks. The show will look at the wider issues surrounding missing persons, including appeals for help and stories of how missing people were found and reunited with their family. Apparently 11 of the missing people featured on last year's five-day version of the show were later found.

Anyway, Missing is definitely at the no-frills end of TV drama: it's more Sainsbury's Basics than the Waitrosey luxury of posh US stuff like Without a Trace. But Pauline Quirke's always a welcome sight and the stories and soapy bits were sufficiently intriguing to keep me watching. And Roy Hudd turned up at the end as MJ's estranged dad, so that's got to be worth a look. If the daytime scheduling's a bit of a problem, you can always catch up on the BBC iPlayer (if you're in the UK)

No comments: